“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)
“Pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain. How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And why does Paul mention joy 17 times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?
When we experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. The peace Paul prescribes doesn’t make sense because it “transcends human understanding.” According to Paul, the foundation of our peace is finding joy in Jesus Himself. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and find peace and joy in Him at all times.
What is the foundation of your serenity and joy? If your foundation is relationships with loved ones, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If it’s your health or athleticism, I can bear witness to the sad reality that is a fragile foundation. Many thousands of people who had a physical orientation around which their lives revolved before age, illness or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that health and physical abilities are fragile foundations for peace and joy.
Jesus commended Mary when she upset her sister Martha by sitting at His feet and listening to His Word rather than help with dinner preparations. With as much love for Martha as He had for Mary, Jesus said to Martha, “Mary has chosen the good part that will never be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
When Paul tells us to find our joy in the Lord, he is agreeing with what Jesus told Martha by directing us to build the foundations for our peace and joy in Jesus Christ.
“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in Him at all times!”
Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Peace